Cambridge Japes

I had a lovely time. Thank you Rosey, Natalie, Alaysha (I hope that is right) Pam and Clare. It was emotional to be back.

This place is the first place that I felt at home and the first place where I felt reading and writing for a living was an acceptable ambition. It takes confidence to say you want to be a writer (even if you never say it out loud, it is still scary) and Newnham is where I started feeling confident. I love this place. And I loved doing my reading and answering questions and listening to all sorts of other people who are going to be all kinds of different writers.

Ace! Top Banana!

And, while I’m here, or rather, while I was rooting about on the internet, what a shame it was to discover that Newnham is hiking up the rent that students pay to live there 8.5 % ( a year. For five years.) as well as charging top-up-fees. I’d never be able to go there now. Not in a million years. I only just coped with the post-degree debt as it was.

It makes me sad.

I know good things aren’t always (and maybe shouldn’t always) be free, and I know that Newnham gives very generous bursaries and financial assistance to students who need it.

But all the same, it is probably a good idea not to make it so that only rich students are allowed to go to a place that has such a profound, long lasting effect on the women who study there.

Seems a bit old fashioned to me.

The talk I gave was for the arts soc. That’s where Virgina Woolf first mentioned that a woman needed a room of her own in order to write. A room of her own and five hundred pounds a year. Which, by today’s standards, is quite a lot more than the average wage, tons more (according to S of A figs) than the average writer earns from her writing, and maybe not enough to have a room of your own at Newnham.

Just saying. 

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